The real time strategy gaming franchise Total War, by Creative Assembly, is undergoing a surge in popularity due to the franchise’s partnership with Games Workshop, creators of the miniatures combat game, Warhammer. As makers of complex, empire building and tactical battle simulating RTS games, Creative Assembly’s team of developers are especially well suited in tackling a fantasy universe built around conquest. So, in 2016, the duo released Total War: Warhammer. It quickly became the fastest selling Total War game in the studio’s history giving it more exposure and bringing in more players to the franchise’s addictively replayable library of titles.
Last week, a countdown started on Creative Assembly’s youtube page for an “announcement” that many expected and correctly guessed, would be for the next addition to the Warhammer franchise. The guessing game began and the hype trained left the station. With a week to go, anything could be on the table. Creative Assembly’s community management team which is usually fairly active on the Total War subreddit was now silent as all the possible theories and ideas played out. Slowly but surely, expectations were getting out of control.
At 11:15, EST, after putting up with a week’s worth of countdown, fans of Creative Assembly’s Total War series were greeted with a lackluster presentation of half a gaming trailer with no sound and nothing else for their announcement of Warhammer II. There was no gameplay preview, no developer talking everyone through their thought process, mechanics, or features, just a trailer cinematic with High Elves getting ambushed by Dark Elves and Lizardmen in the jungle. Suffice to say, for the all the hype that went into building up this week’s worth of waiting and the somewhat botched announcement moment, the takeaway is fairly positive.
The Dark Elves in the Details
Overall, what the new game looks pretty cool. Lizardmen! There are some other interesting hints in there as well but here’s what we know for sure.
- Four New Races with their own narrative story line campaigns: Dark Elves, High Elves, Lizardmen, and a fourth announcement race that is being hinted as “the bad guy,” which many suspect is Skaven.
- “Four races, four outcomes, a single goal: control the Great Vortex, for good or ill.” So most likely the main Warhammer II campaign will center around this struggle.
- Eight new Legendary Lords (Not a lot of detail here but there’s probably two per race)
- “Shortly after launch, owners of both the original game and Total War: Warhammer II will gain access to the new colossal “combined campaign” merging the landmasses of the Old World plus Naggaroth, Lustria, Ulthuan, and the Southlands into a single epic map, so that players may embark on monumental campaigns as any race from any side.”
For some healthy speculation, the trailer video shows a shot with the camera zooming out on an army that is splitting up and going after what looks like two separate armies on the battlefield. Could this mean there might be battles with three or more sides? If so, it would be some good fan service to a request that has been made for years. As that shot keeps zooming out we start to see the curvature of the world and what looks like “the Old World,” below with the vortex way off in the distance across an ocean. Will there be sea combat? One of the community managers, Grace, confirms that it’s something they’re working on for future expansions.
There’s also a shot of a rat at the end with glowing eyes which is pretty much confirming that the rat race known as the Skaven will be the fourth playable race.
One Campaign to Rule them All
The idea of being able to combine the old campaign with the new one, and based upon this information, future ones, Total War: Warhammer is setting itself up to become one of the most ambitious grand strategy RTS games ever made. This is the part that should get players really excited because one of the complaints in the original Warhammer launch was that the campaign map seemed too small. With the ability to increase the map size to incorporate the new races and new worlds, players will be able to indulge in an almost endless variety of gameplay options. While lore breaking as some of this may be, one thing it won’t be is boring.
Yeah but What About the Next Historical Title?
There’s another historical title currently in the works with a time period that has “not been encountered in previous Total War games.” This leaves many to speculate that a new game might center around China and the time of the three emperors. The last historical game, 2015’s Total War: Attila created a vastly complex and challenging historical title that is going to be hard to top. In either case, what’s clear is that word on the next historical game probably won’t happen anytime soon but who knows?
The winds of magic change.